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Opinion | Michigan must learn from other states to diversify energy sources

California and Texas: two states often seen as polar opposites, with one led by liberal Democrats and the other by conservative Republicans. While they may differ on many fronts, they share a commonality - both have made terrible energy policy choices resulting in increased monthly utility bills for residents and an unreliable grid plagued by frequent rolling brownouts. Instead of learning lessons from these states, Lansing Democrats appear determined to replicate these terrible decisions, opting for an unreliable and costly energy future.

State Rep. Pauline Wendzel headshot
State Rep. Pauline Wendzel serves Michigan’s 39th House District which includes portions of Berrien, Van Buren, and Allegan Counties. Rep. Wendzel serves as the House Energy, Communications, and Technology Republican leader.

In California, their state did the exact same thing Democrats are trying to do in Michigan — created a 100 percent renewable energy standard.  California’s lack of generation has led to demand far outpacing supply, leading to sweeping brownouts across the state.  Additionally, after California instituted this renewable mandate, rates shot up. Currently, California rates are 22 percent higher than the national residential average. After bills spiked and repeated power outages plagued the state, California has backtracked on their plan by allowing natural gas and nuclear power to remain viable options in their energy portfolio.  

In Texas, the state was hit by winter storms and a summer heat wave.  Texas, which has a marketplace structured to reward renewable energy sources, has consistently been unable to meet the demand of their residents.  During their recent winter storms, Texans saw their energy prices go up by 800 percent with some residents receiving a $15,000.00 utility bill. 

Energy policy is a deeply complex issue. Other problems certainly plague both Texas and California as they struggle to supply power to their residents, but the last thing Michigan should do is follow their path towards rolling brownouts and higher monthly utility bills.  

Instead, Michigan should continue to embrace a commonsense, all-of-the-above approach that prioritizes reliability and affordability in our energy policy. To compete nationally, support businesses, and sustain our economy, we should diversify our energy sources, including natural gas, nuclear power, propane, and biomass. Relying solely on one energy source is a proven bad idea, yet Lansing Democrats seem to be doing just that. Instead of learning from other states' mistakes, Democrats are trying to duplicate them.  

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